Editor's note: Annette Lang is an experienced personal trainer and educator. Scott Lundberg has done extensive work in experience design. The Focus On article, “Personal Experience,” in the February 2003 issue discussed how you can enhance your personal training program by adopting basic concepts from this experience framework. The June 2003 column discussed Annette's experience assessment. This month, Scott does a follow-up analysis of Annette's experience assessment.

After having defined Annette's core experience, I have made the following simple changes to her experience assessment: new things to try that will enhance the core experience, some things to stop doing because they contradict and sabotage her intentions and some things that turn lemons into lemonade by making a small modification.

  • Spend more time specifically learning about older people's movement issues and concerns in general. This is because of Annette's age, the age of most of her clients in the last several years, and the current demographics in our society.

  • Reward the clients' flexibility. Annette travels extensively for teaching responsibilities, and is unable to be in New York at the same time each week. This potentially negative aspect can be changed into part of the positive experience. She should specifically make it a point to share with clients all that she learns. She should also pass on the t-shirts, bags, videos, product samples, reprints of her articles, and extra workbooks that she acquires. Not only does this let them know she appreciates their scheduling flexibility, but also will improve her credibility as her clients understand more about all that she does.

  • Develop a more consistent look that speaks about who she is as a personal trainer and her desire to be respected as a professional. She currently dresses well but a bit too casually and inconsistently image-wise. She dresses like she does when she works out. This sends the wrong message — coaches don't look like players for a reason. Her look needs to say Reebok, movement=success and I am a personal trainer and educator.

  • Annette's message needs to be part of her graphic identity as well. She already closes all of her e-mails with “make it a great day for someone else.” That is excellent, but that message is not necessarily consistent in business cards, brochures, etc.

  • Over all, Annette was a difficult client because she already does so many things right. I hope these suggestions are helpful and this process helps her understand better what she is achieving as a fitness professional. This awareness is often times all that it takes and she will probably have even better ideas about how to improve her client's experience, their relationship together and her business.

    FOLLOW THROUGH

    According to Annette, “These are things I am going to begin implementing to make the experience I provide more complete and consistent. The experience assessment helped me focus on what I need to do for my business based on who I am, the opportunities I have, and the relationships I am developing with my clients.”

    This same process of experience assessment can work for you if you are a brand new trainer, or a large chain of health clubs. The questions are the same, but the answers are uniquely yours, just as the client relationships you will develop.

    The primary value of the experience assessment is identifying what we can do to take advantage of our unique strengths and opportunities to be better at what we do and attract and retain the people who are interested in what we provide.

    Annette Lang can be reached at www.annettelang.com. Scott Lundberg can be reached at lundberg@makeinc.net.